Sunday, September 12, 2010

Physicians and Nine Others Indicted For Online Pharmacies & Charges Of Illegally Distributing Drugs In San Francisco Federal Court

On September 1, 2010, a San Francisco federal grand jury indicted 11 defendants including one physician for participating in three separate but related conspiracies to distribute controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice. It is Case Number CR 10 - 0642 RS. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency issued a press release summarizing this multi-defendant case. 

This indictment was obtained in connection with an international investigation of illegal Internet pharmacies that began in 2005. The investigation has resulted in the indictment of 37 federal defendants, the conviction of 26 individuals on federal criminal charges, and the dismantling of more than five Internet pharmacies. Please note: An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, the individuals listed in the government's press release must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

There are three related conspiracies in the Indictment. In the first alleged conspiracy, called the "Safescripts Online" conspiracy, eight individuals allegedly conspired to distribute in excess of $22.2 million worth of controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice and without establishing a legitimate medical purpose for the drugs from November 2004 and continued until December 2006. The second is the "Pitcairn conspiracy" which allegedly ran between May 2003 and April 2007.  The third one is the "United Mail Pharmacy Services" conspiracy, which allegedly began in January 2006 and ended in March 2008.

This case related to Internet pharmacy website selling Schedule III and IV drugs (a) phendimetrazine; (b) diazapam (Valium); (c) phentermine; and (d) clonazepam. In essence, the Indictment alleges that the defendants at the pharmacy reviewed online questionnaires which asked customers to briefly describe medical history. The doctor defendants allegedly did not examine the "customers" and did not obtain a complete medical history and there was no effort made to confirm the accuracy of the information provided.  The doctor defendant authorized the prescription and the owners/employees of fulfillment pharmacies filled and shipped the orders to the customers.

The individuals charged are from around the United States and outside the country and reflect the geographic spread of internet pharmacies. All of the defendants were charged with (1) conspiracy to distribute schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and (2)  conspiracy to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). In addition, all but one defendant were charged with distribution of the schedule IV controlled substance Phentermine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and all but another defendant were charged with conspiracy to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h).

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq. Please email Ms. Green at or call her at 213-233-2260 to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Any questions or comments  should be directed to Tracy Green, a very experienced California health care fraud attorney, prescription fraud attorney, California physician lawyer, and California Medical Board attorney at

The firm focuses its practice on the representation of licensed professionals, individuals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings. They have a specialty in representing licensed health care providers in California and throughout the country. Their website is:


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